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CHS Alliance: Humanitarian Human Resources 2020 recap

By James Veysey

CHS Alliance hosted its first virtual Humanitarian Human Resources event earlier this month. Humanitarian and development HR professionals from all over the world came together to share their experiences and insights of the main lessons learnt from COVID-19 and re-imagine the future of aid work.

CHS Alliance HHR 2020

I want to start off by congratulating CHS Alliance for bringing the humanitarian human resources professionals together once again in such a warm and informative way. Whilst it’s tough not being together physically, the organisers managed to achieve a huge sense of connection.

The key takeaways for me were based around staff wellbeing, diversity and connectivity. On wellbeing, there was a timely reminder to ‘put on your own oxygen mask before helping others’ and how you have to look after yourself if you want to help others. The conference presented clear data that people work harder and longer hours when working from home in this Covid-era, so creating breathing space and staying on top of your own mental and physical health has never been more important. Andrea Vogel, Former International Head of HR for British Red Cross emphasised that staff wellbeing is essential for a culture of agility.

The standout message for me from the conference was about inclusion.

At CTG, we pride ourselves on our diverse, wonderful, staff but the event made me ask myself ‘are we truly embracing inclusion?’ I wrote down a powerful quote form an inspirational speaker ‘diversity is the mix, inclusion makes the mix work’ which I will take back into CTG and challenge our business leaders to see how we can make the ‘mix’ work even better.

Finally, on connectivity, we are pretty good at this at CTG, in fact Covid hasn’t really taken us by surprise because we are all so accustomed to working remotely in far-flung places. The conference made me think about non-work related connections; should we have a weekly ‘hangout’ just to chat and laugh together? That’s definitely something we miss.

Covid has shown that we can adapt, that we are resilient, and that we need to adopt a complexity mindset in order to be ready for any future challenges.

Our parting challenge from the organisers was to find the ‘15%’ that we can change within our sphere of influence without any further resources or authority, and I have definitely identified 15% where I can personally help move CTG forward. Once again, my thanks to CHS Alliance and all the participants, it is a highly valuable community which feels like more of a humanitarian HR family.

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